GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The community around Bayou View Middle School is mourning the loss of one of their students.
13-year old Ashton Cole was found dead in an apartment complex swimming pool on Sunday night, and since then the school staff has been working to comfort the family and other students.
"It was a sleepless night on Sunday night because I saw that there was a drowning incident involving a 13-year old in our area," said Bayou Middle School Principal Jonathan Dill. "The first thought was this has got to be one of our students."
On Monday morning Principal Dill learned that student was eighth-grader Ashton Cole. In the last two days, the school has worked to help students deal with the loss and focus on the good memories of Ashton. Dill described the student as curious and said he was always looking for a laugh.
"Some of the things that he said, kind of off-handed comments that would make you laugh just to kind of brighten your day sometimes," Dill said. "He was just one of those kids that could tell if maybe you were down as a teacher, and he would try and pep you up."
According to officials Ashton didn't live in the apartment complex on Church Ave. where his body was found in the fenced-in pool. His bike and shirt were also found on the apartment's property.
Debby Weeks lives in the complex. Weeks said the tarp had just been removed from the pool a day earlier, and the water wasn't clear. Weeks wasn't at home at the time Ashton was discovered and didn't even know about it until later when her property manager called her.
"I was like a child drowned in our pool when," Weeks asked. "It's really a sad, sad situation for a child to drown like that."
Services for Ashton haven't been set yet, but his school is organizing a donation effort to help the family pay for funeral expenses.
"He's one of ours. We are a family here at Bayou View Middle School, so from every child, every parent and everyone involved, this is our community," said Dill. "We need to make sure we take care of our community and show our support for one of our students here at the school."
The official cause of Ashton's death is still under investigation while police await the results of an autopsy.